Two UF students are on a mission to foster innovation through inter-collegiate collaboration.
During the weekend of Feb. 21, Natalie DeVarona, 22, and Daniel Kleinman, 21, were named UF’s first University Innovation Fellows at Stanford University, joining 85 colleges and universities in a national movement to promote the campus’ entrepreneurial atmospheres.
As fellows, they will be creating projects to enrich UF’s entrepreneurial scene by encouraging the collaboration of students between different colleges within the university.
The duo is keeping quiet about their first project.
The program is run by the National Center for Engineering Pathways to Innovation, or Epicenter, an organization funded by the National Science Foundation. It is a partnership between Stanford University and VentureWell, a higher education network.
“The training itself is invaluable,” said DeVarona, an industrial and systems engineering senior. “I would love for students to get a taste of this entrepreneurial kind of spark that’s going on at UF.”
DeVarona and Kleinman both said their goal is to promote interdisciplinary collaboration between all colleges at UF to brainstorm ideas for the future.
DeVarona said she’s hopeful more students will participate. There can be up to five fellows from UF, leaving plenty of room for growth.
Kleinman, who is graduating this Spring, said he is focused on laying a strong groundwork for future fellows.
“I’ve never found an opportunity quite like this,” the mechanical engineering senior said. “It’s targeted for the people who have that passion and want to make that difference and change.”
[A version of this story ran on page 5 on 3/10/2015 under the headline “UF engineering students honored”]